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Sandra Newman @sannewman
, 8 tweets, 2 min read Read on Twitter
1. One of the most important roles of the welfare state is to allow people to have priorities other than money without risking their lives and the lives of their families.
2. In today's politics this role of the welfare state is treated as a flaw—as if helping others, pursuing research, and making things that are useful or beautiful, are all frivolous luxuries, and if you do these things without becoming rich, you have achieved nothing at all.
3. Voters are encouraged to be angry about funding someone else's attempt to help others, pursue research, or make things that are useful or beautiful; that is "waste".
4. Meanwhile, most people aren't primarily interested in earning money, and people who *are* primarily interested in earning money aren't the best people. We all know this—until we start talking about politics.
5. In politics, it's become normal to call all choices that don't make you rich "bad choices". And this badness is seen as moral. Many are even willing to say it's OK if the penalty for doing a PhD in French poetry is death.
6. In reality, it's good to enable people to pursue the lives they want, instead of forcing them to spend their lives in service to "the economy"—a vague abstraction that generally means the profits of the rich.
7. The government should seek to make people happier and safer, not to squeeze them for every last ounce of "productivity" (again, usually defined as the amount of profit you yield to the rich).
8. Yet politicians talk as if you're always either a failure or a criminal if you don't produce as much economic value as you could. The only disagreement is whether you should be "helped" to change your ways, or if you need to be threatened with homelessness, hunger, and death.
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